The post that gets unnecessarily grouchy about NYE – because what else are you supposed to blog about on 30th December?
I actually don’t mind New Year’s Eve these days, but that’s because I’ve found an appealing way to celebrate it. Every year I go to a very informal dinner party at my friend’s house. Because of the size of her flat it’s only a handful of us, and I live within walking distance, so I don’t have to face the trials and tribulations of NYE London transport. But before I started doing this, New Year’s Eve was always a time to worry that the evening’s plans weren’t special enough. If you can’t find something fun to do on New Year’s Eve of all nights then what’s wrong with you? The great weight of expectation leads people to splurge on an expensive ticket to an event that will inevitably not live up to all that is hoped – although for my own part, despite living in London for ten years now, I’ve always avoided going out to a public venue in this city on NYE.
A quick glance at the internet tells me that, should I want to break with tradition and head “out out” into London this year, my options can be roughly divided into the following categories…
The opulent VIP event
This will be very expensive and frequented by braying, awful people: stereotypical City types and the sort of person you get on Made in Chelsea. It may well be at some kind of rooftop bar where you’ll spend the evening refusing to acknowledge you are freezing because you’ve paid £200 for this ticket, damn it, and to acknowledge it’s not amazing would be to admit failure.
The “quirky” event
Likely to be held somewhere like Shoreditch or Brixton. It will involve some sort of novelty aspect such as a ball pit or pretending to be in prison. There will be a large number of women wearing large bows in their hair and men with trousers that are slightly too short. You will also get annoyed with all of the staggeringly ordinary people who are here purely so they can tell an anecdote about what a random and unique New Year’s Eve they had. You are not like them, of course. You are special and the only person that truly appreciates the whimsy of the event.
The South Bank event
Any event that allows you to see the fireworks on the Thames from a location that separates you from the hoi polloi is likely to be at a price point that would make Croesus weep. But you and your friends have decided to treat yourself this New Year’s Eve and avoid being herded like cattle on the South Bank. You’ll watch the fireworks live, spending the entire time worrying whether it was worth all this money to watch the fireworks live.
The themed night
Shakespeare, pirates, Great Gatsby. There’s a theme night for every taste on New Year’s Eve. But as it’s New Year’s Eve you have to put more effort into the costume than a fancy dress party at your friend’s house. You’ll spend the evening getting ready worrying your costume is inadequate. When you get to the venue and see the effort other people have made you’ll realise it is inadequate. Never mind winning one of the prizes for best costume, you barely look like you bothered. And to top it all, the deceptively reasonable entry price is made up for by the astronomical bar prices.
The masked ball and/or burlesque night
There seem to be so many of these in London this year they deserved their own category. For people who want to feel like they are capable of enjoying a bit of debauchery but in practice would rather be at home watching Jools Holland. Remember: burlesque is not stripping, it’s an art form.
The regular club night
If you want to just enjoy the familiarity of your favourite club, they’ll inevitably be putting on a standard club night too, you’ll just have to pay five times the price to get in. They will have gotten some DJ who’s usually resident in Berlin (where you’ve heard everyone stays out clubbing until 10am) so he must be good. He’ll be pumping out the usual dreadful noise for six hours solid, you know, the one that doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end and is of a genre that sounds suspiciously made-up such as “deep creep beats mixed with marrow funk”.